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3 more officials under scanner

mumbai Updated: Dec 03, 2010 01:42 IST
Manish Pachouly
Manish Pachouly
Hindustan Times
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Three high-ranking officers from two banks – Punjab National Bank (PNB) and Central Bank of India – and Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India (Investment) are under the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) scanner for disbursing huge loans after accepting bribes.

According to CBI sources, the already arrested accused from banks and LIC were directly in touch with the executives of Money Matters, the financial services firm that was a go between the corporates and banks. “But, there are more officers involved in the case, who played important roles in clearing suspicious loan proposals,” said an officer, who did not wish to be named, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.

Sources said that the Delhi-based high-ranking official from PNB is being closely scrutinised for clearing huge loans for realty companies. The CBI has already arrested Venkoba Gujjal, deputy general manager with PNB, who was also posted in Delhi. The official whose name has now cropped up is Gujjal’s senior and originally hails from Mumbai. The CBI suspects that part of the bribe money was passed on to this officer.

Similarly, the agency is also investigating role of a high-ranking official from the Central Bank of India. The CBI has presently arrested Maninder Singh Johar, chartered accountant and nominated director of the bank. According to sources, though Johar played a crucial role in influencing clearance of high amount loans, another senior officer from the bank was also involved in getting the loans disbursed.

“In his position, Johar could advise and influence officers in the bank, but the authority to clear the loan rested with other senior officers. One of these senior had a share in the bribe money,” said a CBI official. The agency suspects that the bribe money to this officer was routed through Johar and the officer was also not in direct touch with the executives of Money Matters.

The CBI is also probing the role of another senior officer from LIC (Investment). The agency suspects that this officer acted as a conduit with Naresh Kumar Chopra, secretary (Investment), LIC, in arranging suitable investments and other finance related facilities for certain corporates.

According to sources, these three officers were not arrested along with others, as the agency is yet to establish their roles in the scam.